Fabregas 'looking good' for comeback

World Cup Countdown: 32 days to go
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The Independent Online

Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has begun light jogging as he continues his recovery from a broken leg. The 22-year-old has been out since March but hopes to feature in the Spain squad announced this week.

"I am happy with how things are going," he said. "I just have to be patient, making sure I come back as strongly as I can. I will join up with the team and should be able to join in when we play Saudi Arabia [on 29 May]."

Australia midfielder Harry Kewell has suffered a relapse of his groin injury, putting into doubt his chances of making the tournament. The Galatasaray player only returned to action last week after five months out. "I don't know if he is to make the World Cup at this rate," assistant coach Johan Neeskens said"

Japan's World Cup hopes have been boosted by the news that the groin injury suffered by striker Keiji Tamada will require only 10 days to heal. The 30-year-old picked up the injury at Urawa Reds last week but should still make Japan's squad.

Roma manager Claudio Ranieri has welcomed reports that striker Francesco Totti has missed out on selection for the Italy squad. "Selfishly I am happy," he said when asked about the fact that Totti, who had been tipped to come out of international retirement for next month's tournament, would be fresher for next season.

Highlights of the day

Expectant father of the day

After helping your country to a first World Cup in 28 years, most players would be over the moon to make it all the way to the final. One New Zealand player desperate to avoid that is Blackburn's Ryan Nelsen – his wife is set to give birth the day before. "If it comes early, it could be interesting," the 32-year-old said. "I'd have to get on the plane and head straight home. Obviously, I hope it doesn't happen." Never mind, Ryan, the Kiwi's are 500-1 to make the final...



Quote of the day

Home fans hoping for an appearance of former president Nelson Mandela at next month's tournament are set to be disappointed. His grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela, claims he is unlikely to join in. "He's said he would prefer to be at home in the rural countryside," Mandla said. "Unless the team is winning 2-0 he doesn't feel comfortable. Once it's a tight situation, he usually walks away and says it's too nerve-racking."

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